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Brooklyn Rider caps season with Billboard and critical success

Blurring the boundaries of classical music has proven fruitful for the New York-based string quartet Brooklyn Rider.  After being the only classical ensemble invited to play at National Public Radio’s showcase at the South by Southwest Festival in March, during its extensive North American tour, Brooklyn Rider’s new recording, Dominant Curve (issued by In a Circle Records) debuted last week at number 15 on Billboard’s Classical Chart.  The group continues to garner praise for its ability to incorporate new ideas and styles into the traditional classical repertoire.  According to New York Times music critic Steve Smith:

“Brooklyn Rider stands out for its consistent refinement, globe-spanning stylistic range, do-it-yourself gumption, and integration of standard repertory works into the mix.”

Brooklyn Rider’s artistic vision has won considerable attention from public radio.  This exposure originated in 2005, when its violinist, Colin Jacobsen, was selected as a Young Artist-in-Residence on the nationally syndicated program Performance Today.  The group’s first solo CD, Passport, was named one of NPR Music’s “Best Classical CDs of 2008.”  Fred Child credited Brooklyn Rider with “re-creating the 300-year-old form of string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble.”  Last November, the quartet was invited to perform around host Bob Boilen’s desk as part of NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concert” series, podcast on  In February, a track from Brooklyn Rider’s collaboration album Silent City was presented on “All Songs Considered,” and its new CD, Dominant Curve, was featured on “All Things Considered” in April.  The album subsequently debuted on Billboard’s Classical Chart, and rose to number three on Amazon Classical and number twelve on iTunes Classical.

Hailed as a vital and dynamic ensemble, Brooklyn Rider is dedicated to both in-depth interpretations of existing quartet repertoire and to the creation of new works.  The Brooklyn-based quartet is known for its illuminating, raw, and edgy performances of adventurous, genre-defying repertoire.  Its musicians have traveled the world as members of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project and gathered influences and inspiration from around the world.  They have explored creative collaborations with Irish fiddler Martin Hayes and Persian kemancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor; the latter resulted in the critically acclaimed 2008 World Village/Harmonia Mundi release Silent City.

Dominant Curve, a new self-produced recording from Brooklyn Rider marks the group’s second release on the In a Circle label and its third release overall.  Dominant Curve charts a new direction for the ensemble.  The album celebrates the pioneering vision of Claude Debussy and his ongoing influence on music today.  Centered on a fresh and vivid interpretation of the composer’s great String Quartet in G minor, Dominant Curve also includes four works of similar disposition created for Brooklyn Rider within the past year.


Acclaim for Dominant Curve:
“Outfits like Brooklyn Rider, and its excellent recent release Dominant Curve, are bringing a much needed fresh image to the Western classical world.”
Derek Beres, Huffington Post, Feb 21, 2010

– Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, Feb 2010

“One of the most inventive and thrilling albums of the year” 
Time Out Chicago, Feb 2010

“The precision and control in the playing is stunning” 
Toronto Star


Acclaim for winter 2010 tour:

“The string quartet known as Brooklyn Rider is one of the best examples of today’s numerous, young chamber ensembles busy breaking down the stereotypical barriers that still exist between the stuffy, tuxedo-clad ethos of classical music and the rest of the music world.  The group pivots seamlessly between Debussy one minute and an Armenian folk dance the next.”
NPR “Tiny Desk Concert”, Jan 26, 2010

“Among ensembles that have pursued trails blazed by the Kronos Quartet, Brooklyn Rider stands out for its consistent refinement, globe-spanning stylistic range, do-it-yourself gumption and integration of standard repertory works into the mix.”
– Steve Smith, New York Times, March 12, 2010

“It grooves, moves, and looks like an indie rock group, but Brooklyn Rider is indeed a string quartet, one easily embraced by anybody with a serious and not-all-that-adventurous pair of ears at the latest installment of the Kimmel Center’s “Fresh Ink” series… . The program was a case of 21st-century musicians simply being well-rounded citizens of a musical world in which Latin and Persian folk cultures, for example, aren’t confined to national borders, and French Impressionists are as much a part of our world as the era that spawned them… . My reaction on Saturday wasn’t ‘Isn’t this interesting?’ but ‘Isn’t this fun?’”
– David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer, March 28, 2010

“The dazzling fingers-in-every-pie versatility that Brooklyn Rider exhibits is one of the wonders of contemporary music.  All four players are also members of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble.  Violinist Johnny Gandelsman has entrepreneurial talent: he started a New York new music series and the Riders’ record label, In a Circle… . This smart string quartet is, at heart, a rock band string quartet.  The violinists and violist play standing up, not to get a full blend of sound, as does the Emerson, but for a rocker’s freedom of movement.  The players present four strong, feisty voices but are of like mind.  They play off one another.  Every phrase, every rhythmic impulse is meant to get your attention.”
– Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, Feb 11, 2010
“The group’s members may well be classical music’s four greatest walking embodiments of hipster.  You know what?  We don’t care.  Brooklyn Rider is a damn fine quartet.  And it had plenty to be proud of last night with a concert celebrating its latest album, Dominant Curve.”
– Olivia Giovetti, Time Out New York, March 17, 2010


Brooklyn rider members: 
Johnny Gandelsman, violin
Colin Jabobsen, violin
Nicholas Cords, viola
Eric Jacobsen, cello


Brooklyn Rider’s summer engagements: 
 (North American dates shown in bold)

May 29
Rome, Italy
American Academy in Rome
Concert with Prix-de-Rome Fellow Lisa Bielawa 

June 8 & 10
Charleston, South Carolina
Spoleto Festival USA
Music in Time Series 

July 18
Malmö Festival

August 24
Minneapolis, MN
Stillwater Music Festival
Performance with 2 Foot Yard

August 27
Minneapolis, MN
Stillwater Music Festival
CD release concert with Silk Road Ensemble member and Japanese shakuhachi player Kojiro Umezaki

August 31
Minneapolis, MN
Stillwater Music Festival
Knights Chamber Orchestra

September 10
Chapel Hill, NC
University of North Carolina

September 11
Durham, NC
Duke University

September 12
Raleigh, NC

To request a copy of Dominant Curve contact:

Glenn Petry [email protected]

or Louise Barder [email protected]                      

Opus 3 Artists


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© 21C Media Group, May 17, 2010

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